Florence Local Custom Tips by mariocibelli Top 5 Page for this destination
Florence Local Customs: 130 reviews and 150 photos
Avoid the two-hour peak-season midday wait by making a telephone reservation. It's easy, slick, and costs only €3 (in addition to the €9.50 admission fee). Dial 055-294-883 during office hours (Mon-Fri 8:30-18:30, Sat 8:30-12:30, closed Sun) at least a day before your visit and ideally at least a few days in advance for a better selection. With the help of an English-speaking operator, you'll get an entry slot (15-min window) and a six-digit confirmation number. Off-season, it can be possible to get a same-day reservation. Using the same phone number, you can reserve in advance for the Accademia, Bargello, Medici Chapels, and Pitti Palace; of these, the Accademia has the worst lines.
Phone: 055 294 883
While found in the rest of Italy, the concept of standing at the bar is more the rule in Florence. This is part due to the spatial problem in many Florence cafes and bars, it also has to do a bit with the culture.
Generally most bars and cafes offer two tarrifs for standing and sitting. It is generally NOT worth the 200% markup to sit down, mainly because the service you get is not inline with the price difference.
There are many cafes and bars that do not charge to sit down, I am n0t writing them down here, but just try and pay attention when you are there, they are generally smaller and look like they have seen better days.
It is NEVER worth it to pay 5 Euros for a cappuccino!
Often times, when you are a regular in a bar/caffe, you get out of paying the higher rate, so oft times loyalty does pay off. If you do frequent a place quite a bit and don't notice the service getting better the more you go, you might consider going elsewhere.
Just a little hint about what to drink in a bar. The first giveaway that someone os a tourist is that they go onto a cafe or bar and order a glass of red wine (imagine the tsk-tsk noise of clucking chickens that people like to make when you are breaking the rules).
In Italy, generally you can drink anything in a bar BUT red wine, you consume it with a meal, not really on its own.
One of the best 'light' drinks to have at aperitivo is a prosecco or spumante, if you like the bubbles but have a sweet tooth than a Moscato might be for you. (For those of you in America over the age of 30, ever hear of Muscatel?)
Why are drinks so expensive in Italy? Italy is not a drinking culture (but the liquor and beer companies are trying to change that and fast) and thus people don't have multiple drinks, so the bar has to get it's money out of a client on 1 or 2 drinks. Also, people don't hang out all night in a bar (although this too is changing)...
Also, don't order complicated drinks, you will generally be disappointed, unless the place caters to that type of clientele. DOn't go into a seedy neighborhood cafe and ask the 90 yr old barman for a fuzzy nipple. (You might get one, but not the one you intended)
Locals do not generally tip.
In Florence, we have seen prices almost double in restaurants over the last five years.
If you feel service was good, go ahead and leave something, but NY tipping (20%) is abnormal here - while the server might be pleased, the locals are not.
Why don't people tip? No one ever explains this- the main reason is many places charge a cover or service charge 10-12% + the hated pane/coperto - bread and silverware charge, leftover from the 15th century. In addition, most waitstaff have proper labor contracts and get a nationally sanctioned salary - so they are not working for tips like in the US and increasingly inother countries. So that's why we don't tip - not just because we are cheap (in italian: tirato/a means to be cheap).
Don't tip the cab driver, our taxis are almost the same price as London - they will probably start charging a supplement for breathing!
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